The NewStatesman’s party on the Sunday of Labour conference usually sees the party leader turn up and glad-hand the great and the good. This year Ed walked in one door and walked out the other door barely stopping to shake a hand. On his way out he muttered dismissively that this was his “thirteenth event of the night”. Ed’s people let it be known that it wasn’t bad luck that he snubbed the Staggers, the primary reason for his minimal technical attendance was Dan Hodges’ article that morning attacking Miliband’s strategy as “bold, brave, and politically suicidal” calling Ed the “Ralph Nader of British politics”. You can see how that might hurt.
This brought about a managerial crisis of confidence in editorial plurality. Friends of Hodges say that he thought the understanding was that “Mehdi licked Ed’s arse and Dan kicked him in the balls”. In the Thursday edition published during party conference Dan Hodges’ article about the booing of Blair was spiked and didn’t appear in the magazine – in fact it ended up being published on IainDale.com. Hodges was told he would be rested from the magazine for a few months but allowed to continue to blog for the magazine. Friends say Hodges was told explicitly that the Staggers’ relationship with the Labour leader’s office was important and he was damaging that relationship. Hodges has now resigned.
Could Hodges end up writing for the Spectator? When Martin Bright was pushed out after pressure from Gordon Brown he shifted from being the Staggers’ political editor to writing for their more successful rival. All in all it reflects pretty poorly on the Statesman that it has caved into pressure like this again. The Speccie positively revels in poking party leaders in the eye…
Well they would say that, wouldn’t they…
Mehdi Hasan, the political editor at the Staggers and sympathetic biographer of Ed Miliband has just tweeted, “For all of you asking me to #SaveDanHodges … I don’t want to”. Hmmm…
Rather optimistically this email has just gone out to Tory and LibDem MPs:
We will be sending you an invitation to Labour Party Conference Events shortly.
From the Office of
Geoffrey Robinson MP
UPDATE: Why is Geoffrey Robinson MP using his taxpayer funded parliamentary email address to send emails out for a commercial organisation in which he has a financial interest? One for the Sunlight Centre to investigate methinks…
Prediction by New Statesman’s James Macintyre made 6 May, 2010…
“I predict that David Cameron, having failed to convince an intelligent electorate that he has fundamentally changed his party, will fail to form a government this week and will never become prime minister.”
James Macintyre no longer has a column in the New Statesman in which to share his insights. He now has only his Twitter to pass on wisdom. Yesterday he had a ground breaking “Twitter Exclusive” revealing that Gordon’s new book makes no mention of Tony Blair.
For Macintyre it is an exclusive from “a top Whitehall source”, for the rest of us it is a month old story we read everywhere. Wonder how his book is coming along?
James Macintyre denies he was fired from the The New Statesman as Guido revealed yesterday. That’s not what the more than one source* from the Staggers said however, despite their “amicable departure“ statement. Though one source did say to go easy as he was a little “fragile”. James claims he has left to write a book. Presumably fiction…
*Double sourcing, if only Macintyre had.
Here’s a line Guido has been waiting to write for a long time – the New Statesman’s James Macintyre has been fired.
As regular readers will know Guido has had a less than cordial relationship with the thirsty sidekick of Derek Draper. There are two different versions of events as to what happened after the Statesman’s Labour Party Conference bash. Macintyre claims he was mugged on the way home, but witnesses say he was paralytic. Either way he didn’t wake up with his work laptop or phone. He was put on leave, but has now finally been shown the door after months of humiliating errors and dud stories.
In honour of his departure Guido thought he would list of some James’s Greatest Hits:
How can anyone forget when he called Michael Kaminski, the current leader the Tory ECR group of MEPs, a neo-nazi, on camera? Or when he accused the whole Conservatives of being institutionally racist? What about that time he got the Staggers sued for some serious cash by Daniel Hannan for equally outrageous claims?
There have also been some fantastic quotes from the widely respected journalist. By far the greatest must be those that showed his incredible foresight:
“With a few exceptions, the dark briefings by ministers against other ministers within Labour went away with the departure from Number Ten of Tony Blair”
“a small overall majority for Labour is the most likely outcome”
Guido has had some hilarious run ins, such as the time young James accused him of working for the Intelligence Services. Guido was particularly proud of of his put down.
Who could forget the his email chain with his former “close friend” Derek Draper about the cuteness of boys and girls, and the drunken denial of an unasked question at Tory Conference in Manchester 2008:
“I did not have sex with Derek Draper”
One of the final straws that broke the camel’s back must have been his calling of the Labour leadership for Diane Abbott. Presumably post lunch.
It is not known at this time whether he has finally got that job he coveted so much with Ed Miliband…
The biggest event on the Tory fringe this week is the Rally for Boris being held this evening, it will be packed – the Tories know Boris will be fun. Guess what time the Staggers have scheduled their party? The same time, not only that it is some way outside the security zone and it is pouring with rain here in Brum.
So if you are interested, there’ll be plenty of Cheesy Wotsits to go round…
UPDATE : If any Tories are going, they can take the opportunity to ask James Macintyre if he still thinks the leader of the Tory grouping in the European Parliament is a “neo-nazi”…
The word is that the New Statesman are having a little bit of trouble drumming up the numbers for their party at Labour conference this Sunday. Guido is surprised the finest and shrewdest political journalists of the left aren’t more […]